|Jim Clark |
Eternal Light Productions
You get the feeling that the setting of Buried Land is truly home to Jim Clark. That idea alone gives such a unique impression on the listener that you can't ignore the deep sense of history and connection he presents. Not only does he paint pictures of the land on which he was raised, but he talks of the people in such a way that we feel that we know them. There is just such a difference in listening to someone who has been there and is telling truth rather than fiction. This is not a life he has conjured up. It is not one he wished he had lived or one that he once heard about. It's his life, his father's life and the story of life on the Cumberland Plateau.
Set in rural Tennesse, Buried Land is "a collection of folk song and poetry by Jim Clark". Consisting of twenty-seven tracks, eight of which are music and the rest poetry, it is unlike much you have ever heard before. Clark is a minstrel of sorts who brings tales of his homeland to those who are foreign to it and folk songs that are as touching as they are telling. His poetry, perhaps his "forte" or most distinctive quality, is not the urban, "slam" type of poetry spewed by college kids on a Saturday night at your local coffee house. His style is classic, traditional, spoken and never yelled. His way is fatherly, almost nurturing, and his words are common in the familiar, conversational sense. He is never too wordy or forceful but chooses instead to tell us what is necessary. His subject matter is past tense, historical and illustrative. What it isn't is documentary or collegiate. And what I mean by that is it is warm and sincere. He's got heart.
His songs have that same warmth filling the empty spaces left by Clark's subtle spoken word. Using typical instruments such as the guitar, percussion, bass and piano he doesn't stop there. Just as his words are traditional and reflections of the past, so is his music. He uses traditional instruments including the harmonica, fiddle, dulcimer, organ and pennywhistle to relay his story as much as anything.
With his imagery rounded out with beautiful packaging and photographs, Buried Land is a complete work. Clark has created a collection that feeds both the right and left sides of the brain as well as the spaces in between. It's beautiful and appreciative of a community and history that is all too often neglected. And all I can say is Thank you!
- Stephanie Haselman | 2004-03-30
|OTHER REVIEWS BY STEPHANIE HASELMAN|